There are two great days in a person’s life-the day we are born, and the day we discover why. -William Barclay
I must admit, that I have had more than two great days in my life. Just to name a few, the day I was born, the day I was baptized, the day Nathan asked me to marry him, the day I entered the temple for the first time, the day we were sealed in the temple, the days my babies were born, the day I received my bone marrow transplant, the day I was declared “cancer-free,” and, today, the two year anniversary of my bone marrow transplant. This day is extra special because, statistically, the two year mark following a bone marrow transplant, indicates that if the cancer has not returned, then it shouldn’t. It is a day that we have looked forward to since we spoke with our Bone Marrow Transplant team nearly three years ago. I remember the cute little jar with the pebbles that my sister, Ashley, gave to me to count the first 100 days after my transplant. I have long since stopped dropping a pebble in that jar everyday, and it is amazing to me that if I had continued, there would be 730 little pebbles in that jar.
I went to my Dr.’s appointment two weeks ago, and my labs never looked so good. The time when blood transfusions, biopsies, chemo, radiation, and hospital stays, were everyday life, are over, and for that, I am truly grateful! My health isn’t perfect. I am still weak from the treatments, and have developed Chronic Graft Vs Host Disease (GVHD) which has affected my digestive system, and most recently has caused Scleroderma which is a hardening of the skin, tendons, and joints. Mostly it has affected the joints in my ankles and feet, which has made walking a little tricky at times, (I even tripped over my own feet and broke my arm, but that is a story for another time.) and causes a lot of pain, but we are trying to work through that and we have hope that with new therapies, and with continued faith and prayers, I can heal, or at the least, manage it for a quality life.
Over that past week, as this day has been approaching, I decided to pull up the blog and read what Nathan had posted while I was sick. It was so interesting to read his perspective through that time. It has actually inspired me to post myself, for once, but I have been hesitant, because I don’t feel that I could do the blog justice. He has done such a wonderful job at not just keeping friends and family updated, but in such a thought provoking way. Enough to say that maybe, honey, you should quit your day job. *wink *wink But in all seriousness, I have been thinking lately of the “Why” of my life, for instance: “Why I was spared?” “ What am I supposed to do now?” Partly, I have figured out that the experiences that we have had are, in a way a gift. And gifts are meant to be shared.
I think in the beginning, I didn’t really believe that we would actually make it here. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe that it was possible that I could be healed, it was more of a question as to if it were in my plan to be healed. Our faith and feeling that somehow, I would make it, was always tempered by the reality of the Medical world, which was that my odds were not good at beating such a rare cancer. Also, there were those days when I just felt rotten, and in some ways, hoped I would just be taken to be put out of my own misery. Those were the times that left me with doubt that I would ever be able to stay on this earth. However, the tender mercies and the miracles we have seen along the way would suggest that my plan is to continue on this earth a little longer. I am so grateful for that. It was the desire of my heart to stay with my sweet Nathan and babies. I know that the outcome for everyone in these matters are not the same, despite righteous desires, faith, and prayers. I honestly feel that my life has been spared not because of my own doing, but because of the faith, and prayers of so many around me. Because of the belief that miracles can and do occur, they can happen. I have been a witness and the recipient of the promised blessings that come from the power of faith, and in that, I feel I have been given a most valuable gift, to share. I hope in some way, our experiences have helped give others hope for their own lives. A part of the why I was born, I believe, is to show that Heavenly Father does listen to his children and that he loves us. Despite my own unbelief at times, I know that if my righteous desire to stay with my family here on earth was not granted, then there was something so much better in store for all of us.
So on this, my two-year “birthday,” I would like to offer anyone who may be struggling with loneliness, doubt, depression, despair, heartache, sadness, fear, sorrow, or pain - the gift of hope. Faith does produce miracles. God is aware of us. Love can conquer all. Christ’s atonement is real. That is my witness and the“Why” to my life. And a big shout out to everyone that has ever offered a prayer in our behalf, served us in any way, and lifted our burdens, I say “Thank You” and “I love you!” You know who you are. ;)